Lake Level Management and Drawdown
With experience managing lakes and ponds since 1971, Lycott has developed specific methodology for the successful implementation of lake-level drawdown in many water bodies. Providing the weather conditions are conducive, it is recommended that the water level be drawn down during the middle of September and no later than early October. The water level should be drawn down at a rate of approximately one to two inches per day to minimize impacts to downstream environments.
Drawing the water level down at this rate and time of year allows certain aquatic organisms such as fresh water mussels, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper portions of the water body to overwinter.
Not all water bodies have structures that allow for control and some water bodies have conflicting use patterns that limit the schedule for drawdowns. Each is a unique ecosystem and the specific weather within a year impacts the effectiveness of the drawdown for aquatic plant control.
Drawdowns allow for the desiccation, freezing, and physical disruption of plants, roots, and seed beds. Lake-level drawdown may be an effective method for aiding in the management of aquatic vegetation in the shallow areas of lakes and ponds. Detailed data on the water body’s hydrology and morphology, including bathymetry, is necessary to determine the potential success of this management technique. An assessment of the dam or outlet structure must also be made to ensure that the structure supports water level control.